Nevada lawmakers split on short-term tax cut

WASHINGTON — Nevada Reps. Joe Heck and Mark Amodei counted themselves Monday among House Republicans poised to toss aside a two-month tax cut bill in hopes of forcing a longer-term deal. Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., said the two-month agreement is the best deal for now and should be approved.

Partisan differences like those set the table for key House votes today on a bill to extend unemployment benefits until Feb. 29 and reduce Social Security payroll taxes.

Republicans who control the House were expected to vote in effect to reject the short-term agreement passed by the Senate over the weekend and to call for a conference committee to negotiate another deal.

"I am against the two-month extension," Heck said Monday. "It does not provide the stability or the predictability or the certainty that the American people and certainly Nevadans are looking for."

"We cannot continue to govern in this haphazard patchwork fashion," Heck said.

Amodei said he was "baffled" at the two-month deal, calling it "a can-kick of Olympic proportions. I have yet to hear of a reason for 60 days instead of 12 months."

"I am more than willing to work for the next two weeks to provide some longer-term certainty so that Nevadans can plan their lives accordingly for the coming year," Amodei said.

Berkley said impasse risks losing the tax cut that expires at the end of the year.

She said the House would be "shamed" if the payroll tax holiday expired. In Nevada, she said, 1.2 million people would see their taxes rise, by an average $1,066.

"Nevada’s middle-class families who still have a job cannot afford a massive tax increase in January, but that is exactly the direction we appear to be heading toward thanks to the tea party extremists in the House of Representatives," Berkley said in a House speech.

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., voted for the two-month compromise on Saturday. On Monday, he urged House Republicans to do the same.

"There is no question we need to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance for the entire year," Heller said.

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